CHICAGO – The National Hockey League awards were handed out over the weekend. Two of the top trophies went to Russians, one an established star and the other newly minted as the league's top goalie.
Alex Oveckhin of the Washington Capitals took home the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, beating out Sidney Crosby and John Tavares. This is the third Hart trophy that Ovechkin has won, making the Russian forward one of only ten players in the history of the award to win it more than twice.
Ovechkin’s MVP bid kicked into high gear in the final month of the regular season, which saw him score 24 goals in his final 23 games to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the League's top goal-scorer with 32.
His monumental effort late in the season almost single-handedly turned the Capitals’ season around. The team made the playoffs and won the Southeast Division and the third seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to the New York Rangers in the first round.
"Big thanks to my linemates, teammates," Ovechkin said on NBC Sports Network. "All the coaching staff, trainers, they do a great job, especially the coaching staff. They put me on the right wing, so it was kind of hard. But as everybody knows, I like the challenges. It was a big challenge for me and the coaching staff, but we [made] it."
Though he missed out on the MVP, Crosby was chosen as the recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the NHL’s most outstanding player chosen by a vote of players.
Other Canadians were recognized for their exceptional play in 2012/13. P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league's outstanding defenceman. Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau claimed the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, currently competing against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final, was chosen for the Frank J. Selke trophy for the NHL’s top defensive forward. Paul Maclean from the Ottawa Senators, won the Jack Adams award for Coach of the Year.
One of the more surprising winners was Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who took home the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie beating out the likes of Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi.
Bobrovsky (21-11-6, 2.00 goals-against average, 93.2 save percentage, four shutouts) was a key player in Columbus' surprising late-season playoff push that kept the club in contention until the final moments of the season. The first-time Vezina finalist appeared in 11 of the Blue Jackets' franchise-record 12-game point streak (8-0-4) from Feb. 26 through Mar. 22.
He won eight of his last nine games, posting a 1.64 goals-against average and 94.5 save percentage in that span. Overall, Bobrovsky ranked second among NHL goaltenders in save percentage and sixth in goals-against average.
Click here for a complete list of all the award winners on NHL.com